29 January 2014

Do you struggle with scripture memory? Try this approach

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.-Psalm 119:11

Most Christians that I know 1) think that scripture memorization is probably important and 2) that they find it really difficult to accomplish.  I know that for me, this is certainly a challenge.  Here is something that I have been trying lately that so far, seems to be producing effects well beyond what I would have anticipated. 

The first thing you are going to do is go to Christian Audio before February 1st and download the free ESV Bible.  Okay, you don't have to download this one; I'm just trying to help out because it is a great translation and its free.  It is truly free, not just a gimmick.  It is only available until January 31 so get on it if you are interested.  Put the Bible on your iPod, iPhone, iPad, cellphone, whatever.  You could certainly find an audio Bible of whatever sort you would like.

The second thing you are going to do is that you are going to pick a chapter of the Bible that you want to memorize.  That's right, a chapter. I know, it sounds overwhelming, but stick with me here (there are actually really good reasons for learning long passages, but I won't go into them here).  I chose to start with Ephesians 1.  Then, when I go anywhere, I set Ephesians 1 on repeat.  It is just under 3 minutes.  I try to talk along with it.  Don't worry, in the cell-phone age, everybody looks like they are talking to themselves, and even if people do think that about you, who are you trying to please, man or God? I have listened to it 6 times today already. Over the last 2 weeks, I've probably listened to it 100 times or more.  I not only have down the whole passage at this time, I can even mimic the inflections and pauses of the narrator. 

Keep listening to it until the passage is solidly in your memory stores and then keep listening just to make sure. Then, you can add the next section. So, tonight when I go home, I intend to make a playlist that is just Ephesians 1 and 2, which I will then listen to repeatedly until I have that down then keep adding until all 6 chapters are done. 

If you really want to power it up, combine it with this method for memorizing long passages of scripture described by Andy Davis. This too only takes 10 to 15 minutes per day.

As an example, if you commit to listening to Ephesians 1 for just 15 minutes per day, you would listen to it five times. Within the week, it would be 35 times. It would be 465 times over the course of the month.  A year? 1825 times.  That's almost 2000 times just by listening for 15 minutes per day!  Do you think you would know chapter 1 of Ephesians well by that point?  Yes, you would. Just check out Deuteronomy 6:6-9 if you need more convincing.

Where can you listen? In your car.  In the shower. As you are going to sleep at night. While you are doing dishes. While you are walking around the block.  The options are wide open to you.

Wondering what to work on memorizing? Here are a few suggestions, but you could really start wherever you wished.
  • Exodus 20
  • Psalm 19
  • Psalm 23
  • Psalm 51
  • John 1
  • Romans 8
  • The book of Ephesians
  • Phillipians 2-4

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